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Johnson Controls building 4th automotive battery plant in China; AGM for start-stop

Johnson Controls is forming a joint venture with Binzhou Bohai Piston Co., Ltd., an auto parts affiliate of Beijing Automotive Industry Group Co., Ltd. (BAIC Group), to build its fourth Chinese automotive battery manufacturing plant. Aimed at serving both automakers and aftermarket customers, the facility will be located in Binzhou, Shandong Province.

This joint venture is a strategic move to position Johnson Controls and Bohai Piston to take advantage of what will be the world’s largest automotive battery market by 2020.

—Joe Walicki, president, Johnson Controls Power Solutions

At full capacity, the more than $200-million plant will employ 650 people who will manufacture both conventional flooded and absorbent glass mat (AGM) battery technologies. AGM powers start-stop systems, which increase vehicle fuel efficiency up to 5%, helping automakers meet increasingly strict environmental regulations.

In the China market there is strong demand for auto part technologies that can improve fuel efficiency and there will be rapid growth for AGM batteries in start-stop vehicles. The new joint venture will position both companies to take advantage of this market opportunity and we believe our cooperation with Johnson Controls, the global automotive battery leader, will help promote leading products and technologies in China.

—Han Yonggui, BAIC Group director and chairman of Beijing Hainachuan Automotive Parts (BHAP)

By 2020, 50%—about 15 million new vehicles—will be equipped with start-stop functionality in China, saving an estimated 1.2 billion liters of gasoline per year. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 2.8 million metric tons per year.

Construction of the state-of-the-art facility is expected to begin in 2017, with production starting two years later. Once up and running, the plant will be able to produce 7.5 million batteries per year.

Approximately 23.5 million new vehicles were produced in China in 2015, making it the world’s largest automotive market. In 2015, Johnson Controls announced it signed an agreement to build a new battery manufacturing facility in Shenyang, China. It is expected to start operations in 2018. The company also has battery plants in Chongqing and Changxing, and an energy storage research and development center in Shanghai.


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